The Asian Football Confederation’s commitment to protect the welfare and safety of children across the Continent marked a significant milestone with the first-ever AFC Child Safeguarding Seminar 2019 which concluded today in Chonburi, Thailand.
Held in conjunction with the ongoing AFC U-16 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019, the objective of the seminar was to expand the reach of the new FIFA Child Safeguarding Programme and Toolkit – FIFA Guardians – a major initiative launched by the world governing body in July this year aimed at assisting Member Associations and Confederations around the world to introduce stronger child safeguarding measures in football.
Organised in collaboration with the Football Association of Thailand (FA Thailand), more than 30 participants, including representatives from the eight participating Member Associations, local non-governmental organisations as well as clubs and academies were given the opportunity to widen their knowledge on the industry’s best practices from UNICEF Thailand.
AFC General Secretary, Dato’ Windsor John said: “Our children, our youth represent our future. The AFC has underlined our ambitions to use the power of football as a force for social development and to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to cultivate a lifelong passion for the game in the best possible environment.
“Our success relies significantly on embarking on a shared journey together and I must thank FIFA, FA Thailand, UNICEF, our participating members and valued partners for their commitment towards strengthening the systems, structures and building a better, brighter, and above all, safer environment for our future generation of players.”
Containing practical guidance and support materials, the FIFA Guardians toolkit is based on “five principles and five steps” that are underpinned by internationally recognised standards in child safeguarding across sports.
Child safeguarding encompasses the prevention of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect and maltreatment of children by everyone in the football ecosystem, including contractors, business partners, visitors to premises and volunteers.
Ms. Miyazaki Etsuko, Manager, Coach Education Group for the Japan Football Association (JFA) said: “Grassroots and youth football is growing rapidly in Japan, which ultimately raises the demand for JFA to ensure that the security and interest of our players are always protected.
“Today’s seminar has provided an excellent platform not only to gain insights from international experts, but as guardians of the game, it has also strengthened our resolve as one family to ensure child protection is given a louder voice and greater focus.”